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Powerstrips That Detect Your Presence In a Room

by Justin Thomas •

This powerstrip, called the Isole IDP-3050, is unique because six of its eight outlets are controlled by a motion sensor. You could plug your monitor, desk lamp and space heater into the strip, and they will be turned off automatically when you leave the room.

Felt Briefcase Made Out of Merino Wool

by Justin Thomas •

This distinctive felt briefcase was designed by Daff from Germany. It’s made out of 100% merino wool felt that resists piling. It features a roomy interior with two main pockets and space under the front flap for credit cards and ID, as well as a cell phone storage pocket. Available from Unica Home for $275. Found via Better Living Through …

Test Tube Vases

by Justin Thomas •

These are minimalist test tube vases. They’re available for $9.15 from Sprout Home. Found via Better Living Through Design

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Kirei Mod Coffee Table

by Justin Thomas •

This coffee table is made out of Kirei board, which is a material made out of the recycled stalks of the Sorghum plant. Usually these stalks are thrown away after the Sorghum cereal is harvested, but in this case, they are reclaimed, and then bonded into a sheet using formaldehyde-free adhesives.

Rock It Chair by Offi

by Justin Thomas •

This modern rocking chair is built of out of sustainable, non-toxic mateirals (Baltic birch veneer and non-toxic painted wood). It’s part of the new “Built-By-Me” collection from OFFI, and it’s designed by Jennifer Carpenter. Available from Velocity for $109.

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Best Television Reviews

by Justin Thomas •

The best television reviews can be found on Consumer Reports (subscription required) and CNET. Shown here is Sony’s WEGA KV-27FS120 television. It received the highest marks from reviewers for its sound and picture quality, especially in 16:9 enhanced mode. It has a flat picture tube to minimize glare. It’s a bit more expensive (about $300) than comparable sets, but according …

Gift Trees: Efficient

by Justin Thomas •

These gift trees, from the National Arbor Day Foundation, can be grown indoors or outdoors or even preserved in the refrigerator until you are ready to plant them. The trees are only $3 each, but there is a minimum order of 10. You can select from four evergreens: Ponderosa Pine, Coastal Redwood, Longleaf Pine, and Colorado Blue Spruce. They come …

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20 LED Portable Spotlight

by Justin Thomas •

Not bad! Good marks on efficiency and portability. This spotlight has 20 LEDs on a rotating head. It runs up to 200 hours continuously on 3 D-size batteries.You can also plug it into a 12V DC lighter socket if you wish. It’s available from Amazon for $29.97

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Efficient: Down Filled Sleeping Bags

by Justin Thomas •

Down is one of nature’s finest insulators. Nothing matches its warmth for weight, compressibility, and resilience. Its ability to absorb perspiration and cozily drape along the contours of your body is unparalleled by synthetic materials. Down is more expensive than other insulating materials. However, when you divide its cost by the number of cozy nights it provides, down is a …

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Minimalist LED Headlamp For Kids

by Justin Thomas •

This is a nice children’s headlamp for about $18. We like it because it uses three bright, energy-efficient LEDs. So the batteries will last hundreds of hours. It has three settings: high, low and flash. Available at Amazon. See also this similar headlamp from Amazon.